Emily Perry

The Centre for Bacterial Cell Biology Baddiley-Clark Building Medical School Newcastle University Newcastle-upon-Tyne NE2 4AX


Professor Jeff Errington and Dr Yoshikazu Kawai

My previous education was undertaken at The University of Birmingham where I graduated with an MSci in Biochemistry in August 2013. Throughout my degree I took Genetics and Biochemistry modules and later became inspired by prokaryotic gene regulation. I have always been fascinated by the complexity and precision of gene regulation in bacteria.

As a molecular bacteriologist and geneticist I am interested in the biochemical interactions that exist inside bacterial cells. In particular, I am intrigued by the cellular systems involved in growth and cell morphology of prokaryotes.

My previous lab work (during my MSci) aimed to characterise the sigma factor dependence of DnaA– the DNA replication initiator protein- in E. coli at different phases of growth.

Project title: Regulation of cell wall autolytic enzyme activity by the MreB cytoskeleton in Bacillus subtilis

My project aim is to understand the role of the bacterial actin homolog– MreB– in regulating the major autolytic enzymes of Bacillus subtilis.

MreB’s have been known to have a central role in cell morphology for many years but the mechanisms by which they direct correct cell wall morphology is not fully elucidated. The autolytic enzymes degrade the peptidoglycan and have a major role in cell wall turnover.

Previous genetic studies have shown Mbl and MreBH are upstream regulators of the autolytic enzymes CwlO and LytE respectively. There is also in vitro evidence that MreBH directly interacts with LytE. Because LytE is thought to be Sec exported out of the cell while MreBH remains in the cytoskeleton, the nature of this interaction in vivo is still enigmatic.

During my PhD I hope to develop a clearer understanding of the molecular biology surrounding this question and in doing so develop our current understanding of bacterial cell wall morphology in general.

The majority of antibiotics currently available act upon the bacterial cell wall. With the ever emerging threat of antibiotic resistance, expanding our knowledge of the biochemistry behind cell wall regulation and morphology is beneficial for both human and animal health.

Other Activities

Society of General Microbiology summer studentship (July 2011).

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